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Engineering for the Space Shuttle: Entry GN&C - a simple explanation

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Published on Aug 1, 2012

A class that explains how engineering is different from science or art, and then goes further to present a basic understanding of Space Shuttle Entry Guidance, Navigation & Control (GN&C) by using comparisons to things we became familiar with as children, such as bicycles, skateboards, darts and shopping carts - examining stability, targeting, etc.

The section on Control was intended to explain the concept of "countersteering", where if you want to turn, say, your bicycle in one direction then you first do a small steering input in the opposite direction to "tip" the vehicle off balance and then your steering input that "catches" the balance back will steer into the direction that was originally desired. This concept applies to motorcycles, skateboards and rocket boosters just as well as bicycle steering. By deliberately inputting a disturbance and then correcting for that, you have controlled your trajectory. This explanation was skipped due to time constraints for this effort to pack the concepts of many many advanced lectures into one hour and delivered in terms that grade school children can understand.

Edit(2016Jan26):
Today I saw the intro to this series that gives an excellent illustration of how an arrow's tail feathers are like a surfboard tail fin as well as an aircraft's vertical tail:
Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiJnI...
That clip from this series intro that started in 2008 gives a parallel to the explanation given in this Space Shuttle GN&C presentation.

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